Prime Minister Naftali Bennett does not intend to announce his political future before the dissolution of the Knesset is finalized next week, Kan News reported Thursday evening.
According to the report, Bennett told his associates: "I will decide on my political future only after the dissolution of the Knesset."
At the same time, Bennett is reportedly facing growing tensions with longtime ally Ayelet Shaked, who is concerned with her own political future after the current government last just a year before collapsing and was visiting Morocco when the announcement of its dissolution was made.
Bennett tried to explain to Shaked why he could not wait with the announcement of the dissolution of the Knesset until she returned from her visit to Morocco and told her: "Orbach told me to vote for the dissolution of the Knesset this week, I could not wait."
Shaked did not accept the explanation and remained displeased with the timing of the announcement.
Reports have circulated that Bennett intends to retire from politics and not run in the next elections in the Fall.
Bennett decided to dissolve the Knesset after a conversation with the Attorney General last Friday about the chaos that will be created if the Judea and Samaria regulations are not passed. "I am not willing to accept blackmail and threats. If I harm the state because of the non-approval of the Judea and Samaria regulations, I will go," Bennett said.
Yair Lapid will become prime minister during the transition period as per the coalition agreement and will greet US President Joe Biden as Israel's premier during his visit to the Jewish State on July 13. Elections for the 25th Knesset will be held in October; at this point, the most likely date seems to be October 25.
With the dissolution of the government, Naftali Bennett will become the shortest-serving prime minister in Israel's history, a record which would be broken by Lapid if he does not remain prime minister following the elections.
Bennett's political career appeared to have reached its end once before, following the elections of April 2019 when his New Right party failed to secure enough votes to pass the electoral threshold. However, then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was unable to form a coalition, forcing another election in which Bennett's party was able to claw its way back into the Knesset.
Following several more undecisive elections, Bennett secured a deal with Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid following the election of March 2021 by which they would both serve as prime minister under a rotational agreement, with Bennett serving as prime minister first.
The coalition which was formed included right-wing parties such as Yamina and New Hope, left-wing parties such as Meretz, and even an Arab party, Ra'am, for the first time in Israel's history.
The bill to dissolve the Knesset and hold new elections in October passed its first reading in the Knesset Wednesday.
The bill, introduced by lawmakers from the New Hope and Yesh Atid factions in the coalition, passed its preliminary reading in the Knesset on a 110 to 0 vote.